Jessica Serna is a photographer, videographer, writer, and content creator who lives in Dallas, Texas. You may know her from her as Texas influencer @mycurlyadventures_ on Instagram and @mycurlyadventures on TikTok. At just 27, she has already quit her 9-to-5 job and made a full-time successful career as a social media personality who documents her travels.
Her mission is to encourage others to live a life of passion no matter their situation in life – whether that’s encouraging her followers to travel more in their own state or to turn their passion into a full-time job they love. She is also an advocate who promotes small businesses, BIPOC creators and businesses, and works toward protecting the environment and making sure everyone has access to travel in a way that best fits their lifestyle and budget.
Why did you start doing what you do?
The purpose of my platform is to expose Texans to local travel destinations that not only allow people to travel regularly even if they have a 9-5, but to also give smaller towns and businesses more exposure, which they rightly deserve. They are the building blocks of our community. Of course, I have done some out-of-state traveling, as well as some international travel, and my community consists of people from all over the world. However, Texas is my home and where it all started for me.
Tell us about your background and what made you want to do what you do today?
While I was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain due to a scholarship. This ignited my love for travel, so I vowed I would continue to make time for it when I returned to the states and after I graduated. However, when you’re working a 9 to 5 with only two weeks of paid vacation, travel can feel next to impossible. So, to keep my travel bug at bay, my husband and I started looking for places to visit near us in our state. I would post content about my travels and people would reach out to me asking all sorts of questions about where these destinations were and being surprised that such beautiful places were in our own backyard! Realizing there was a need for this, my niche became “Texas travel blogger,” and as things progressed, I was fortunate enough to be able to leave my 9 to 5 and pursue travel and content creation full-time.
What do you love about Texas?
Texas is full of culture, history, and natural gems. Not to mention our long highways are perfect for planning road trips that allow you to stop in the small towns along the way toward your destination. You have the Czech culture of Ennis, the German culture of Fredericksburg, the Hispanic culture of San Antonio. Did you know Belton is home to Texas’ first state park and that Denison helped save the French wine industry? Texas even has beaches, several lakes, waterfalls, mountains, its own Stonehenge, an Eiffel tower, the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and the coastal cities of Bay Area Houston and Corpus Christi. I love that I’m learning more all the time and what better way to learn than to see these places for yourself?
What do you love about Dallas in particular?
Dallas is unlike any other major city in Texas. You have the central hub with gorgeous skyscrapers and rooftop bars and pools. There are cultural hubs like Deep Ellum and the Dallas Farmers Market. You have everything from boutique and lavish hotels to Airbnbs like you’ve never stayed in before. Not to mention the way our iconic skyline looks at night is unbelievable! Venture away from the hustle and bustle of the main city and there’s only more to discover: McKinney, Plano, Rockwall, Carrollton, Grapevine, Mansfield, among other cities within proximity to Dallas that are close enough to experience a different world without booking a flight. If you love to go on adventures, Dallas is the perfect place to be!
What do you want outsiders or people considering moving to Texas to know about the state?
Texas is made up of five central cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Surrounding these cities are dozens of smaller towns and oftentimes it’s really easy to get away and escape into another country. If you have the chance to visit the historic downtowns of any of our smaller cities, you definitely should! Again, we are a melting pot of so many different cultures so there’s always something new to discover around every corner. Texans love to party too! There are festivals during most months out of the year in several of our local cities. Best of all, our landscapes are gorgeous and disprove the assumption that Texas is covered in sand and cacti in the best way!
What is special about Texas in your opinion compared to other states?
Our diversity makes us who we are. In combination with our communal love for our state, we are constantly striving for ways to make things bigger and better. After all, “everything is bigger in Texas” is what we are known for.
Why did you stay in Texas as opposed to moving away?
I actually wanted to move away and it was just another reason that sparked my desire to travel around my state before I would leave. However, the more I explored, the more I fell in love and kept finding things to do!
What are your top 5 places to visit in Texas?
Big Bend National Park
You have hiking trails that’ll last you for weeks. With limited signal and nothing but nature around, it’s so easy to be captivated here! Big Bend also has a lot of unique glamping experiences unlike any other and the scenery along the hiking trails is so diverse, with everything from hot springs to rivers and boulders. No matter your experience level, everyone can enjoy adventuring through Big Bend, and whether you want to hardcore camp or enjoy the modern luxuries of a mattress and AC in between your hiking trips, there’s something to keep every type of traveler happy while still getting to experience the gem that is Big Bend National Park.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Surf the expansive, unmarked sand dunes and camp close by.
Wine Country of Fredericksburg
You can choose between 5 treehouses at HoneyTree Farm, the Hye-Way Haus B&B that neighbors a vineyard, or retro RVs at Blue Skies Retro Resort. Not to mention the abundance of wineries here where you can learn about the wine-making process at Pedernales Cellars or wine and cheese-pairing classes at 4.0 Cellars. Make sure to stop by the Texas Mead Works tasting room in Fredericksburg and try your first sip of honey wine. I love that there are so many unique ways to stay overnight in Fredericksburg, plus the fact that it is so famous for its wine and vineyards but a lot of Texans don’t know that! You won’t just find vineyards abroad and in California, lucky for us.
Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs
There are so many activities! You can hike, paint, fish, practice your archery, throw hatches, fish, and feed alpacas! Then, have dinner at their on-site Tillie’s Restaurant, a Vietnamese town hall that came all the way from Vietnam. Plus, you can lay by the pool and sip wine from their on-site vineyards. It’ll take you back to the fun of being a kid while satisfying your love for luxury as an adult.
The only natural lake in Texas, you can hike, fish, canoe, camp, and boat. It’s absolutely gorgeous as the sun rises and Hodge Podge Cottages offers the perfect lodging for a lakeside stay, including a repurposed boat that is now the cutest home! It’s also conveniently placed so you can stop into Jefferson and Marshall, Texas for some in-town activities. It is one of the prettiest views I’ve ever seen and if you can manage to get out on the lake early in the morning, it’s almost a meditative experience. The way the trees look as you pass through them is remarkable and very much picture-worthy.
What are your top 3-5 restaurants?
Eataly Dallas offers a little piece of Italy right here in Texas. The chefs prepare food right in front of you and offer authentic dishes with things like handmade pasta, as well as wine, barrel-aged beers, and herbal cocktails. They also host classes and sell items like freshly made bread, pastries, coffee, and gelato.
Boasting over 250 bottles of wine and a gorgeous 20-foot fireplace, this eatery in Austin, with its exposed brick and modern flair, is a must for date-night or treating yourself when you’re in Austin. Serving everything from seafood, chicken, red meat, and up-scale sides and desserts, you’ll leave more than impressed.
Its name translates to “a traveler,” reminiscent of the process by which Musaafer’s menu was created. Two chefs traveled all over India and returned with regional recipes from which they built their menu. Offering vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options in Houston with a variety of heat options, there is something for everyone. They offer menus for a variety of occasions and meals, whether that be a Sunday, cocktails, lunch, or a la carte dishes. You can also stop in before or after shopping at Houston’s Galleria, where Musaafer is housed.
What are your favorite weekend getaways or adventures…what is the perfect weekend?
Anywhere in the Hill Country! I love having the wineries all around mixed with different swimming spots like Jacob’s Well and Colorado Bend State Park! There are also so many cool glamping spots such as sleeping in a luxury tent overlooking a cliff at Retreat on the Hill or staying in a Mongolian Yurt at The Yurtopian.
Any other things about Texas or yourself you would like people to know about?
Just how multicultural Texas is!
Any weird things about Texas that you love?
Texas just has so many weird and funky things! We have a salt museum where people travel all over to lick the wall, a house shaped like a cowboy hat, a “high tea house” in a questionable old shack on a river, a giant fire hydrant with dalmatian spots that was actually donated by Disney, and so much more! I love finding the funky and weird.
What are your favorite places to shop in Texas and why?
Folklore and Tradition has a shop along the strip across from the Dallas Farmers Market and the Shed. It’s so full of color and the staff is incredibly kind and passionate. Their items are fair-trade and you can buy beautifully embroidered tops, skirts, and dresses, as well as accessories, and bags. They even sell children’s clothing!